Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Can't Relate to the Angst No More

I cannot hear the song Missing you by John Waite on the radio without instantly being transported back to eighth grade. All that song does is remind me of school dances held during the afternoons at our junior high, and my fruitless quest to be asked to slow dance to this particular song. Oh, the angst.

Sadly, that's about the extent of my junior high boy angst. I wasn't one of those golden girls who clutched notes filled with intrigue and the inevitable "Will you go with me? Circle yes, no or maybe." I was the girl with the unfortunate Pat Benatar haircut, a dire need for braces, and oversized eighties glasses with a sparkly heart affixed to the lower corner of my lens. Any notes I clutched typically held plans of buying gummie strawberries at the local store, a few issues of Tiger Beat and then riding the ten speed bike home to peruse the glossy pages and tear out mini posters of Duran Duran and Ricky Schroeder.

I remember one eighth grade couple in particular, Jenny and Ryan. They were the king and queen of my junior high and had been going together for, well, forever. At least four months. Ryan was in my art class, and I sat at the large square table with the other cool kids (I was never really a cool kid but always their friend. I think they had a rule to always include one nerdy girl). All these shiny haired, lip-glossed, sparkly kids would analyze the latest developments in the Jenny/Ryan saga. I would listen intently, chewing on my Chapsticked lip, wondering when I would be able to wear makeup and would it ever look as good as it did on these kids?

One scene in particular has stayed with me all these years. I thought it was the most romantic interlude between a boy and a girl, bar none. It was my The Way We Were or Love Story. Ryan had asked Jenny to go with him after weeks, weeks I tell you, of deliberation and group discussion with the coolness roundtable in art class. Jenny of course knew all about this and played it cool, never flinching in her Esprit sweater or LJ Simone loafers, her mesh Madonna hand glove never absorbing a bead of sweat (I was certain of this, since my hands were constantly slick, and practically drenched my Trapper Keeper when I passed a boy who made my heart beat Like a Virgin).

Jenny had the note with Ryan's declaration of pubescent love and had the wherewithal to not read it until she boarded her bus after school. This alone cemented her as queen in my book. How, how was she able to not tear open the lined paper note the instant his handsome hands gave it to her? How was she able to coyly slide it in her Peechee and not break stride on her way to class? These were gifts I feared would never be bestowed upon me. As Jenny's bus pulled away from the school, she leaned out the window and called to Ryan, her hair blowing in the breeze. Yes, yes I'll go with you! she shouted from her departing bus, the Sea Breeze scented crowd on the curb bursting into cheers as Ryan grinned and walked away.
Sigh. It was beautiful.

Now, many years later, my own daughter is one of the golden girls. There is drama, intrigue, the class king to her queen. There are tears over notes passed that were forged by frenemies (Mom! She asked him how much he liked me on a scale of one to ten and she FORGED his writing to make it look like a...*sob*...FOUR. I hate her!) and I am left standing in the kitchen, mildly annoyed over the drama, wondering when she'll grow out of it, slightly in awe, and totally useless.

42 comments:

jakelliesmom said...

For me, the time capsule songs of all the dances where I watched the boys ask the other girls to dance (I don't believe I was asked once, and the time *I* asked a boy, he said no) are Careless Whisper and Spandau Ballet's True. I've toyed with downloading them from iTunes, but still feel a bit ill each time I hear them.

I will not know what to do should Ellie become popular.

Jen M. said...

Oh GAH - Careless Whisper?? TOTALLY.

Crystal said...

Oh mean girls, they make my blood boil. Poor thing, I would not go back to those years for any amount of money, even if it did mean that I could listen to all The Cars and Prince I wanted. I guess all that nonsense made me the confident and kind person I am today, but those were hard lessons to learn.

Beth said...

This post took me right back to 8th grade! I, too, was the nerdy girl that was friends with the popular crowd.

Ahhh...Trapper Keepers...I had completely forgotten about those!

Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

I am not looking forward to dealing with the teen angst years, but I know I am better equipped to handle it than my poor husband will be...and, I have to say, I am sort of looking forward to seeing his reactions. Just for the comic relief! Thankfully we still have hopefully 8-10 years before we have to deal with it all!!!

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

OH! I was a nerdy girl, too. Skinny, big nose, and braces. I was an 8th grade cheerleader ONLY because they were desperate and we had a small school. I was friends with all the popular girls in school and smart. Finally I got boobs in 10th grade, lost the braces, and boys started to notice me. But the angst...oh GAG. I am not looking forward to this and my 5-year-old is already struggling with the drama of school somewhat.

Eeeeeek...

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Thanks for the memories - not!

Missy said...

Oh how much I hated that time in my life! I was definitely not popular but have way too many memories of painful crushes on boys who were way out of my league and horrible "mean girls" who made my life even more miserable.
I feel bad for all 8th grade girls and dread the day my daughter is one.

Kathryn said...

Oh this was too funny! Trapper Keepers! I almost forgot about those. And the girls in their Esprit sweatshirts I never had enough money to buy. ~sigh~
Thanks for taking me back to a fun and also painful time. ;)

Family Adventure said...

You took me right back in time....I am so glad to be out of that. Having boys, I dare say (hope) it will be slightly easier...but you, you'll have your hands full :)

Heidi

Beck said...

My daughter is a popular, pretty girl and it takes all of my mothering skillz to relate to her problems, since I was such a friendless dork.

seven said...

Oh, wow. I am so glad I was homeschooled. There was some of that amongst my friends at church, but I never had to be immersed in it, for which I am thankful. Thanks for your comment on my post, by the way... it was encouraging. :)

Anonymous said...

i am still a die hard duran duran fan. i had such a crush on simon lebon. i'm pretty sure i cried during one of their videos. good luck with that teen stuff!

Circus Kelli said...

Ah yes... I remember when every day at school was something more than just a day at school -- it was a life or death moment-to-moment roller coaster drama. Your whole day could be made into something golden or come tumbling around you with just one look acrosse the room, one glance across in the hallway, one word spoken so casually...

Good luck, darlin... if our Moms survived, we can too, right?

Sarcasta-Mom said...

I have a feeling my daughter will be a part of that golden crowd as well. She has the attitude, and the hair, already. lol. I'm very afraid...

wheelsonthebus said...

First, even READING that song title makes me misty. Second, what a great post!

bipolarlawyercook said...

Ricky Schroeder... sigh. Wah? Where was I? Ok, back to the point. I was the nerdy girl friend to the Queen, and one day after her umpteenth breakup with her boyfriend, she was moaning to me about how he'd broken her heart. I was so disgusted with the drama that I said "I don't see why you're so upset. It's not like he's even that cute."

Yep, Ostracized. For like, a week and a half, until she realized I was having fun without her.

Sigh.

Sophie's Mom said...

What a great post, you really took me back! I was short, and wore glasses. Ugh. Never had a slow dance in school. Hindsight what it is, I didn't have to deal with the heartbreak that young! These days all the kids are 'going out' for a week or two and breaking up... oh the drama...

I'm glad my 14 year old won't give the local boys the time of day, (not that they don't ask!) and doesn't play those games. She wears her purity ring on her finger to school every day.

Mommy Cracked said...

Oh Lord, I wouldn't go back and do those years for anything!! But very cool that you liked Duran Duran, too!

Rima said...

TIGER BEAT!!!!! Oh, I remember those days. I think you and I would have been friends, my dear.

But look at you now!

Captain Backfire said...

Geez, why do you have to make me feel so young?! Esprit? Duran Duran? Ricky Schroeder? :P

I totally had Peechees tho.

Captain Backfire said...

Geez, why do you have to make me feel so young?! Esprit? Duran Duran? Ricky Schroeder? What are these things you speak of?! :P

I totally had Peechees tho.

amanda said...

Kids are so mean to each other. I was so uncool and my friends now cannot believe that. Somewhere after highschool, I came out of my shell. But I was a geeky withdrawn slightly overweight girl who desperately wanted to be cool.

Cathy said...

You just took me back years and years! Sea Breeze. John Waite. The Jennys and the Ryans. (I was fascinated by them too.)

Beth said...

I can definitely relate to your youthful angst - propped up a lot of "walls" in my time!

jen said...

i heard that song on the radio today (what, we listening to the same station) and marvelled at how angstless i am in comparison to when i was young.

girl of a thousand blogs said...

That song reminds me of when my boyfriend left for college. I had a "promise ring" and we were gonna get maarryyed... we thought. I was 19. We broke up. But that song? Ouch.

Madame Queen said...

OMG, you could have been describing me except that I didn't have the glasses. And the cool couple at my school were Kevin and Jennifer and for some reason I've never been able to figure out, Jennifer hated my guts. And I wasn't even cool. *She* was. WTF?

Madame Queen said...

Oh, and for me it was Bop magazine -- because they always had pictures of Adam Ant!

Just Seeking said...

Oh you know I am the queen sufferer of existential angst---though it is much different now. Your poor child. We should just trade kids for a day---you take O and I'll take M. I know I can relate. Sigh.

B.E.C.K. said...

Oh, man. This was great. I often wish I could go back to high school knowing what I know now. Maybe I could actually be cool. (Dare to dream!) ;^)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

What a blast from the past.

I too have (inadvertently) raised a "Social Queen." One of the big weapons in my arsenal to keep her down-to-earth and sweet is regular listenings of the Janis Ian song, "At Seventeen." I defy anyone to listen to that song and not really feel for the girl who is not in the "in" crowd.

Mrs. G. said...

Sigh. Freakin' sigh.

The Cube Monkey said...

GAHHHHHH!!!

Don Mills Diva said...

Oh what a great post - me it akes me back. My "boyfriend" snuck I ain't Missing You into my record collection after he moved (I was 13). And the notes we passed around in grade school - horrors - I' not sure I'm ready to see my kids relive that...

Doug said...

Well hopefully it doesn't happen to your daughter, but all the popular kids (at least from HS) ended up being the losers after college.

Fortunately my daughter doesn't give a shit about all the drama.

dawn224 said...

oh.... my glasses had a puppy gog on the lens....

Laura McIntyre said...

Ahh the "good" old days, i was always friends with the cool kids but could never be called one of them. I hope everything works out for your daughter

Captain Backfire said...

Have you heard Tyler Hilton's version of Missing You? It's good.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

What a trip! I still have a shoebox (Esprit, mind you) filled with notes from boyfriend(s), girlfriends, and frenemies shoved in the corner of my closet. I may have to fish it out and remind myself how ridiculous it all was. Better yet. Maybe I should just leave it there. LOL!

My bedroom was also plastered in 8x10 pages featuring Duran Duran.

crazylady said...

you took me trippin' there. Thanks.
The worst days of my life. REALLY.
Freakado. But hey, look at how normal I turned out to be?
Your words are poetry in motion. I clung to every word. What a great post!
And our Junior High queen was also Jenny but she went 'around' with Paul.
Are all the queens named Jenny?

I bet you Ricky Shroeder has the Dick Clark gene.

Rony said...

Ricky Scroeder?! lol. of course I was in high school already.... I was lmao at all the drama. We were just trying to figure out how to sneak out of the house!